The Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets met on Friday night at Staples Center in a match up involving two less than stellar squads. Despite the losing record, the Nets sat only one game out of the playoffs, and the extra incentive drove the Nets to a victory.
Friday's game started with Lakers forward Ryan Kelly asserting his presence on the floor and stamping his authority on the box score. The Lakers' starting small forward would notch 12 points in the first half, which was tied for game-high honors with Bojan Bogdanovic.
Although the Lakers shot 51 percent from the field and scored 57 points in the first half, they only held a one-point lead following the intermission. Defense, clearly, was not on display for the two losing teams.
Along with Kelly's fast start, rookie Jordan Clarkson continued to shows signs of improvement. The point guard recently worked with veteran point guard Steve Nash in a one-on-one session, and the 22-year-old put up eight points, four assists, three rebounds and no turnovers in the first half.
Lakers coach Byron Scott, who has admitted that a new change to his starting lineups was on the horizon, tried a new bench unit. Even with Jordan Hill healthy, the Lakers stayed with Tarik Black as a starter. As such, the Lakers tried a new second unit that featured Ronnie Price, Jeremy Lin, Nick Young, Ed Davis and Hill.
The Lakers' defense failed in the third quarter. The Lakers' defense finally hit a new level of dysfunction as the Nets tallied 40 points in the 12-minute third period, and suddenly the Lakers trailed by 19 points. In particular, Joe Johnson got hot from distance and made all four of his three-point attempts in the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Nets' lead would grow to 22 points, but the new-look second unit would chip away and bring cut the Nets' lead to only seven points. Hill would finish with 12 points and 10 rebounds, Davis would add a double-double of his own with 16 points and 14 rebounds and Lin would pour in 18 points off the bench. Price set the table and tabbed eight assists.
Eventually, though, the Lakers would lose 114-105.